Orange Cranberry Frosted Cookies

These delicious orange cranberry flavored cookies and soft and tender with a delicious citrus glaze on top.

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Orange Cranberry Frosted Cookies on a plate on a blue countertop with orange slices and fresh cranberries around.

Pretty and Seasonal Orange Cranberry Cookies

I’ll warn you ahead of time… these orange cranberry frosted cookies aren’t much to look at UNTIL you have them fully iced and decorated. Then they sparkle like the little gems that they are. Orange and cranberry together is a favorite flavor pairing for me, especially in the winter and around the holidays. They not only pair well together in flavor, but in color and appearance too. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in the cookie dough and then sweeter dried cranberries to decorate on top. 

Raw cookie dough on a red baking sheet with a red and white kitchen towel near by.

Chilling Cookie Dough

Making this cookie dough is not complicated or unusual. It simply requires creaming the butter and sugar, mixing in the wet ingredients and then adding the dry ingredients. Then, refrigerate the dough for an hour, or better yet, overnight. This helps the dough set up a little, making it easier to scoop out, and it helps to develop a little more flavor. 

Baked cookies on a red baking sheet with a red and white kitchen towel on one corner.

Making Ahead

You can make the dough ahead of time (which is great for more flavor development) or you can go ahead and bake off the cookies ahead of time. This is also a great idea because you’ll need to wait for the cookies to cool completely before frosting them anyway. Baking ahead ensures that they’ll be cool when frosted. Store them in an airtight container if you do bake ahead. 

Looking down on unfrosted orange cranberry cookies on a cooling rack.

A Blue-ish Tinge?

Sometimes when baked the cookies can take on a blue or green-ish tinge. This can happen if you are using a baking powder that contains aluminum, which reacts with acidic ingredients (like cranberries). This is not harmful and the cookies will be frosted anyway, but if you want to avoid this, look for a powder that is aluminum free, like Clabber Girl, Rumford or Bob’s Red Mill. 

A hand dipping a cookie into a bowl of frosting with partially frosted cookies on a cooling rack in front.

Cream Cheese Citrus Glaze

The frosting for these orange cranberry frosted cookies is simple, but rich and delicious. That’s because it starts with cream cheese. If you love the icing on carrot cake, you’ll love the icing on these cookies too. Make sure the cookies are cool before frosting so that the frosting doesn’t melt and run off. Then let the frosting set up on the cookies and decorate the tops.

Looking down on a cutting board with some unfrosted cookies, a bowl of frosting and some frosted cookies on a cooling rack.

Storing Cookies

These cookies are best stored in one layer so that you don’t mess up the decorating on top, but if you need to stack them, put a little parchment paper in between the layers once the cookies have cooled and dried for a while. Store in an airtight container (or zipper sealable plastic bag) for a week or two (but they won’t last that long).

Orange cranberry frosted cookies with a gift back and ribbon.

Holiday Cookie Exchange

I think these orange cranberry cookies make a perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter and ideal for a cookie exchange because they are different from most of the other traditional cookies you see around the holidays with a soft, almost cake- or scone-like texture. On top of that, their pretty colors make them stand out in a crowd. Just like you.

A stack of three orange cranberry frosted cookies with a plate behind it as well as more cookies, orange slices and fresh cranberries around.

Other Cookies You Might Like

If you are making these as part of a holiday cookie platter, you might like to check out other great cookies suggestions like shortbread, Dark Chocolate Scottish Oat Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Raspberry Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies or the Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Throw in a few squares of Buckeye Fudge and you’ll have a platter beyond compare!

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Orange Cranberry Frosted Cookies

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Chilling Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 30 m
  • Servings:


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Zest from 2 oranges chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Fine strips of zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped dried cranberries


  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer in a second bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. And the egg, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the chopped cranberries and then chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. During the resting time, make the glaze. Whip the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the orange juice and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Set the glaze aside.
  4. Toss the orange zest with 1 tablespoon of sugar and spread the strips out on a piece of parchment paper or paper towel to dry out.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Drop 1½ tablespoons of the dough on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on the edges.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  8. When cookies are completely cool. Whisk the glaze again and dip the cookies into the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off. Top with a little sugared zest and dried cranberries. Let rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set. Store in a single layer or with parchment paper in between layers of cookies. for up to 1 week.

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Comments (10)Post a Reply

    1. Yes you can refrigerate them for about 2 weeks and freeze them for about 2 months. I would let them come to room temperature before add the glaze.

  1. 5 stars
    These cookies are out of this world good. It takes a little longer than average cookies but worth it. The longer they set the better the flavor. Thanks for the receipt. I made them for Christmas not sure they are going to be around that long.

  2. For the glaze, you have 2 TEASPOONS of butter- is that correct? In 30 plus years of baking, I can’t remember ever using teaspoons of butter for anything, so I just wanted to double check. 😊

    1. 2 teaspoons is correct. You can measure it out by letting the butter get soft and use a measuring spoon. Or use 2/3rds of 1 tablespoon of butter.

  3. I just baked a test cookie for the minimum bake time and my cookie really spread and got dark. My dough is very soft even though I refrigerated it for a little over an hour. Should it still be soft? My cookie was almost cake texture. Love the flavor!! Cranberry-orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

    1. These cookies are soft and more dense then thin and crispy cookies so they will have more of a cake-like texture. Next time, you could chill the dough longer or even add a small amount of flour to the dough if you don’t want the cookies to spread out as much. All ovens are a little different so you can reduce the baking time a few minutes if they are getting too dark.

    1. Hi Nan. That would change the recipe significantly so I don’t know how it would turn out. You would have to replace the orange zest, cranberries and orange juice, and I have no way of knowing if your sauce would provide enough or too much moisture to the recipe.

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